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Revolutionizing healthcare through cutting-edge research and technology

Life and Matter Sciences International Symposium Tuesday, 7 November 2023, 09:30h Madrid

General information:

Venue: Fundación Ramón Areces - salón de actos. Calle Vitruvio, 5. 28006. Madrid.

Attendance is free, but it is necessary prior registration. Limited capacity.

Streaming available on youtube.

Organized by:

Ramón Areces Foundation and MIT-Industrial Liaison Program


Eduardo Garrido Program Director, Relaciones Corporativas MIT

  • Description
  • Programme
  • Speaker/s

In recent years, there have been significant advances in medicine and medical research, with new treatments and technologies emerging that are revolutionizing healthcare.

Some of these advances include precision medicine for a more targeted and personalized treatment, immunotherapy to fight cancer cells, gene therapy, AI to improve diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes and nanomedicine to develop new treatments and diagnostic tools.

At this symposium, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from leading MIT faculty and startups on:

  • Exploring the use of nucleic acids as highly programmable nanoscale materials for revolutionary applications, including the targeted in vivo delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids; massive molecular data storage, retrieval, and computing; and quantum computing and sensing.
  • Understanding the interface of vascular and mental health: from nano and microscale to tissues, organs and patients to address the likelihood of depression of people suffering from chronic illnesses. Additionally, the risk of developing chronic illnesses is higher in people with mental diseases.
  • Developing devices, materials, and vaccines to create customizable living and gene therapies for cancer, diabetes, and other applications. Particularly, the quest to deliver drugs inside target cells in the body through synthetic nanoparticles that can act like artificial viruses, the development of smart biomaterials that can interact appropriately with the immune system, and the development of next generation nanotherapeutics for cancer.
  • Getting in touch with the latest devices developed by innovative startup companies to improve our quality of life.

Overall, these advances in medicine and medical research hold great promise for improving patient outcomes and advancing our understanding of disease.

Please join us at this symposium to benefit from the interaction with these remarkable thought leaders in this space.

First conference. Next-Generation Nucleic Acid Materials for Healthcare
Nucleic acids have emerged in the 21st Century as a central molecule for advanced therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, and pathogen surveillance. Prominent examples include clinically approved antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) for the treatment of numerous genetic disorders and diseases; messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for COVID19; and PCR-based point-of-care tests for SARS-CoV-2, as well as other RNA viruses. Despite these recent remarkable successes, numerous major challenges remain to fully leverage the power of nucleic acid based materials for healthcare. These include the challenge of realizing targeted, in vivo delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics and vaccines to any site of disease in the human body needed to treat over 10,000 genetic disorders and diseases, as well as innumerable deadly cancers. And second, the ubiquitous and worldwide collection, storage, and analysis of genomic DNA and RNA from humans, as well as emergent pathogens, needed to understand the genetic basis of rare diseases and better manage or avoid entirely future pandemics. In this talk, I’ll present next-generation nucleic acid based materials to address these preceding challenges by enabling the targeted in vivo delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids by mimicking attractive properties of viruses such as AAV, while circumventing their severe limitations, and enabling the extremely large-scale, ubiquitous collection and storage of genomic DNA and RNA samples from humans and pathogens worldwide using innovative, scalable nucleic acid encapsulation and barcoding strategies for genomic analysis and surveillance.

Second conference. Understanding the Interface of Vascular and Mental Health: From Nano and Microscale to Tissues, Organs and Patients:
People suffering from chronic illnesses are more likely to suffer from depression. Additionally, the risk of developing chronic illnesses is higher in people with mental disease. Researchers from MIT Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (Cambridge, US), Instituto Politecnico Nacional (Mexico City), Albizu University (Miami, US) and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) have joined forces to establish novel and unexplored phenotypes of chronic disease and mental health that classical measurements done during doctor visits are not able to capture. We are using novel digital data measurements from smartphones as well as tissue-engineered models of the vasculature in a vibrant international and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Third conference. Smart Materials for Medical Devices and the Delivery of Cells, RNA and Genome Editors

Tuesday, 7th November


Welcome and introduction

Raimundo Pérez-Hernández
Director of the Ramón Areces Foundation.

Klaus Schleicher
MIT Corporate Relations.


Next-Generation Nucleic Acid Materials for Healthcare

Mark Bathe, PhD
MIT Professor of Biological Engineering Director, MIT New Engineering Education Transformation Member, Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Professor, Department of Biological Engineering.


Understanding the Interface of Vascular and Mental Health: From Nano and Microscale to Tissues, Organs and Patients

Mercedes Balcells-Camps, PhD
Principal Research Scientist





Smart Materials for Medical Devices and the Delivery of Cells, RNA and Genome Editors

Daniel G. Anderson, PhD
MIT Professor of Chemical Engineering and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science Member, Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine Associate Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Associate Member, Ragon Institute at MGH, MIT and Harvard


Roundtable discussion

Klaus Schleicher
MIT Corporate Relations.

Mark Bathe, PhD
Daniel G. Anderson, PhD


Startup Exchange introduction

Catarina Madeira
Director, MIT Startup Exchange


MIT Startup Exchange Lightning Talks

Catarina Madeira
Director, MIT Startup Exchange

  • Future of Health Monitoring. Delivered Today
    José Wong, Chief Product Officer - Dynocardia
  • Better Molecules for Mood, Memory & Mind .
    Pablo Lapuerta, MD CEO, Founder & Director - 4M Therapeutics
  • Non-Invasive White Blood Cell Monitoring
    Carlos Castro-Gonzalez, Co-founder and CEO - Leuko
  • At Cache, We Are on a Mission to Store the Biomolecules of Today in Order to Unlock the Possibilities of Tomorrow.
    Heather E. Williams, Vice President, Clinical Genomics Operations & Chief of Staff - Cache DNA
  • Inés Herrero, Founder  - BioMixing


Wrap up and closing

Eduardo Garrido
Program Director, MIT Corporate Relations

Klaus Schleicher

Klaus Schleicher

Klaus Schleicher joined the Office of Corporate Relations in 2013. He has a Global Operations and Technology background that has delivered rapid profitable growth in the imaging systems, speech recognition, IT security and consulting, digital printing & media industries. He has executive experience in Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Strategy and Business Development and has held senior positions at Universal Wilde, Presstek Inc., Consul Risk Management B.V. (IBM), Lernout & Hauspie (Nuance), Agfa (Bayer Corp.) and Honeywell Inc. He holds a Master Degree in Computer Science and Engineering, from the Technical University of Giessen in Germany.

Eduardo Garrido

Eduardo Garrido

Eduardo Garrido has a strong multicultural and multidisciplinary background, with deep expertise in higher education, banking and management consulting, acquired in Argentina, Spain and USA.

Before joining MIT in 2016, Eduardo was the Director of Santander Universities at Santander Bank, N.A., based in Boston, MA. Before coming to the US, Eduardo had several roles at Banco Santander Rio (Argentina). As Director of Santander Universities, he started the first entrepreneurship initiative at Grupo Santander worldwide, including the launching of a business plan competition, the Technology Innovation Venture Capital Fund, and a national competitiveness development initiative. As Director of Organization and Quality at Banco Santander Rio, he led the team that obtained the first Global ISO 9001:2000 certificate for a financial institution in Latin America.

Before joining Banco Santander Rio, Eduardo was Senior Manager of the Financial Services and Capital Markets Group at Price Waterhouse Management Consultants in Madrid, Director of Consulting Services at MSA International, Inc. and Financial Control Manager at Citibank España, S.A.

Eduardo graduated as Industrial Engineer at Universidad de Buenos Aires and holds a Master Degree on Business Administration at Instituto de Empresa in Madrid.

Mark Bathe

Mark Bathe

Mark Bathe is a Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, Director of the MIT New Engineering Education Transformation, Member of the Harvard Medical School Initiative for RNA Medicine, and Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard. He obtained his Doctoral Degree at MIT working in the Departments of Mechanical, Chemical, and Biological Engineering before moving to the University of Munich as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow to carry out his postdoctoral research in Biological Physics. He returned to MIT in 2009 to join the faculty in the Department of Biological Engineering, where he runs an interdisciplinary research group focused on engineering nucleic acids for application to vaccines, therapeutics, structural biology, and computing. He is academic co- founder of Cache DNA, Inc. and Kano Therapeutics, Inc., and in his free time he enjoys running, biking, swimming, and skiing amongst other outdoor activities.

Mercedes Balcells-Camps

Mercedes Balcells-Camps

Dr. Balcells-Camps is a Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Profesora Titular in Bioengineering at Institut Químic de Sarrià in Barcelona. Her research in tissue engineering has shown how endothelial cell states are critical to tissue response to injury. She was the first to show that cells respond to flow frequency not just shear stress and in a manner which is tissue bed dependent. She demonstrated that endothelial cells from the heart and blood vessels, lungs or gastrointestinal tract proliferate optimally under flow conditions whose frequency is tuned to the operating frequency of their host tissue. This simple notion was borne out in sophisticated experimental models carefully matched through dimensional analysis. Dr. Balcells’ group developed novel culture methods and perfusion systems that enable patient- specific geometrical parameters to tissue response. Those methods have been used to characterize cellular response to medical devices and pharmaceutical formulations in collaboration with industry. Through her dual appointment at MIT and Institut Quimic de Sarria, Dr. Balcells-Camps has promoted innovative, highly productive research and educative exchanges between both institutions and countries. As a direct consequence of her work in extending MIT’s international opportunities for students and faculty she created and directs the international MIT-Spain Program. In 2011, Spain’s government bestowed Dr. Balcells-Camps with the Cross of the Order of the Civil Merit for her contribution to establish a fruitful channel between MIT and her home country, Spain. Dr. Balcells-Camps chairs MIT innovation program IDEA2 Global within MIT LinQ Initiative. For her service to MIT and to the world, Dr. Balcells-Camps received the 2019 MIT Excellence Awards “Advancing inclusion and global perspectives: maximizing MIT's strengths”.

Dr. Balcells is a passionate basic scientist who embraces working with physicians and clinicians as well as industry partners to accelerate the path of new technologies and therapies from bench to bed-site. She is also a motivated mentor and the projects she leads become the ideal venue to educate the next generation of engineers, biologists, material scientists, physicians, computer scientists and chemists who learn to work collaborative as the only way to solve today’s greatest challenges in health.

Daniel G. Anderson

Daniel G. Anderson

Learn more about the work that Professor Anderson’s lab is doing to create tiny nanoparticles that can deliver RNA to a cancer cell to stop tumor growth by watching this video: "Inside the Lab: Daniel G. Anderson, Ph.D."

Daniel G. Anderson is a leading researcher in the field of nanotherapeutics and biomaterials. He is appointed in the Department of Chemical Engineering, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology at MIT. The research done in Prof. Anderson’s laboratory is focused on developing new materials for medicine. He has pioneered the development of smart biomaterials, and his work has led to advances in a range of areas, including medical devices, cell therapy, drug delivery, gene therapy and material science. Prof. Anderson received a B.A. in mathematics and biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of California at Davis. His work has resulted in the publication of over 400 papers, patents and patent applications. These advances have led products that have been commercialized or are in clinical development, as well as to the foundation of companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and consumer products space. Dr. Anderson is a founder of Living Proof, Olivo Labs, Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), Sigilon Therapeutics, Verseau Therapeutics, VasoRx, and Orna.

Catarina Madeira

Catarina Madeira

Catarina Madeira joined the Office of Corporate Relations as Program Director of Startup Exchange, in May 2021. She was promoted to Director of Startup Exchange in December 2022.

Catarina has been working with the Cambridge/Boston startup ecosystem for over 10 years and joined Corporate Relations with a solid network in the innovation and entrepreneurial community. Prior to MIT, she was part of the team that designed and launched the startup accelerator IUL MIT Portugal later rebranded to Building Global Innovators. She was based in Lisbon and worked in direct relation with the Cambridge team. She held positions including Operations Coordinator, Program Manager, and Business Developer. The accelerator soon achieved steady growth in large part due to the partnerships that Catarina led with regional and global startup ecosystems. After that, she worked at NECEC, leading a program that connects cleantech startups and industry. In this role, she developed and built a pipeline of startups and forged strong relationships with both domestic and European companies. She has also held positions in Portugal and France including at Saboaria e Perfumaria Confiança and L’Oréal as Technical Director and Pharmacist.

Catarina earned her Bachelor in Chemistry at the University of Porto and her Bachelor in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She went on to earn her Master of Engineering for Health and Medicines at University Lyon 1 and EM Lyon in France.


José Wong
Chief Product Officer - Dynocardia

Dr. Mohan Thanikachalam, a cardiovascular surgeon with a keen interest in public health, is a faculty member at Tufts University School of Medicine. With the support of the US National Institutes of Health, Dr. Thanikachalam and his team from Tufts Medical School and MIT have created ViTrack technology. This innovative wearable device allows for non-intrusive, accurate, and continuous monitoring of blood pressure and heart performance in everyday settings. ViTrack technology surmounts the limitations of conventional automatic cuff-blood pressure devices, making it a valuable asset across various healthcare markets. As the founder and CEO of Dynocardia, Inc., Mohan is leading the way in commercializing the ViTrack technology with private funding and grant support from multiple NIH agencies and the National Science Foundation. The innovative technology has been recognized with several awards, such as the "Break Through Innovation in Cardiovascular Digital Health HRX 2023" by the Heart Rhythm Society and the American College of Cardiology 2023 Innovation Award.


Pablo Lapuerta
Founder & Director - 4M Therapeutics

Pablo has 25 years of experience in the biotech industry and a track record of successful drug approvals. He was previously Chief Medical Officer at Lexicon Therapeutics and Vice President of Clinical Development at Bristol-Myers Squibb. His work has been published in leading scientific journals including the New England Journal of Medicine. Pablo holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Harvard College where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.


Carlos Castro-Gonzalez
CO-founder and CEO - Leuko

Carlos Castro-Gonzalez is an engineer and entrepreneur driven by translational research in healthcare. Carlos received an MSc in Electrical Engineering from KTH (Stockholm, Sweden) and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UPM (Madrid, Spain). After his PhD,Carlos was selected for the prestigious M+Vision fellowship at MIT, where he led international, multi-disciplinary projects to translate medical imaging technologies into clinically applicable products at the crossroads of engineering, business and medicine. His work includes award-winning AI algorithms to diagnose cardiac CT images and an ultrasound product for early diagnosis of infant meningitis. Recently, he co-founded and is the CEO of Leuko, an MIT spinoff focused on commercializing PointCheckTM the first medical device to noninvasively monitor white blood cells with the goal to improve cancer chemotherapy outcomes. Carlos was named Innovator Under 35 by MIT Technology Review and has won multiple awards including the Rice Business Plan Competition, MassChallenge HealthTech, Startup WorldCup and a prestigious SBIR award by the National Institutes of Health.


Heather E. Williams
Vice President, Clinical Genomics Operations & Chief of Staff - Cache DNALeuko

Dr. Williams is the Vice President, Clinical Genomics Operations & Chief of Staff at Cache DNA in San Francisco, California, USA. She is an EBMG Board Certified Clinical Laboratory Geneticist (ErCLG), and a registered Clinical Scientist (Genomics) (UK, HCPC) with additional certifications from ASCP. She completed her PhD in Molecular Pathology at Nova Southeastern University, an ACGME/ABMGG fellowship at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, an Execs on Deck Fellowship, and her Executive Master of Business Administration (Healthcare) at Yale University. Her expertise includes transitioning laboratories to the highest medical laboratory standards to demonstrate the quality and reliability of their service, addressing emerging issues in access to genomic testing, and supporting the recognition, certification, and global awareness of Laboratory Genomic Professionals. She has authored several papers and recommendations and served on various working groups and committees focused on precision medicine. She has received awards such as ASCP's "40 Under Forty," "Lab Superstar Award," and Women Who Code's "Applaud Her Awards." Currently, she is creating breakthrough technologies to address the access and utility of biological samples by helping labs store and manage genetic materials. She is dedicated to mentoring and supporting those pursuing careers in genomics.


Inés Herrero
Founder - BioMixing

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